Germany can take a big step towards clinching a place at the UEFA Euro 2020 when they welcome Belarus to Borussia-Park in a Group C clash on Saturday.
The curtains will fall on the penultimate matchday of the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers on Saturday, with nine matches on show. A tightly contested Group C could have its first qualifiers on the day, with Germany looking to seal safe passage to next summer’s finals when they play hosts to Belarus at Borussia-Park in Monchengladbach.
Germany have looked much improved during their qualification campaign for the UEFA European Championships, losing just one of their six games so far. In fact, Die Mannschaft have only let in goals to Netherlands, keeping a clean sheet against each of their other opponents and are level on points with the Oranje, who are ahead on goal difference.
Belarus, on the other hand, stood no chance at directly qualifying for the Euro 2020 through Group C, although they have somewhat recovered in their three subsequent games. The White Wings will have a chance to make it to the competition through the playoffs after clinching UEFA Nations League D2, but will finish no higher than fourth in their qualifying group.
The reverse fixture, played on Matchday 3 in March, ended in a comfortable 2-0 win for Germany, with Leroy Sane and Marco Reus on target. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Joachim Low will be without three regulars for Germany’s last two fixtures in the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers. Niklas Sule is a long-term absentee due to a knee injury and might not be fit enough to represent Germany in next summer’s competition, Kai Havertz (thigh) and Marco Reus (ankle) pulled out from the squad due to their respective injuries.
Meanwhile, Emre Can will play no part for Germany against Belarus after being sent off in the 3-0 win over Estonia last time out. With Sule unavailable and Can banned, Low is expected to partner Matthias Ginter with Jonathan Tah at the heart of the defence, with Lukas Klostermann and Nico Schulz being the full-back pairing.
Reus’s absence means the German head coach could shuffle his formation against Belarus, reverting to the 4-3-3. Joshua Kimmich ought to sit at the base of the three-man midfield unit, pulling the strings from the middle of the park.
Ilkay Gundogan will expect to keep hold of his spot after scoring a brace last time out against Estonia, with the returning Toni Kroos being the creative outlet. Up ahead, Timo Werner should lead the line for Germany, with Julian Brandt and the in-form Serge Gnabry providing the support in the final third.
In the attacking phase, Brandt will likely play off Werner and Gnabry, both of whom will remain central and look to make runs in behind Belarus’s centre-backs. The width, in turn, will be provided by the full-backs Schulz and Klostermann. Finally, Manuel Neuer should start in goal once again, getting the nod ahead of Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Neuer; Klostermann, Ginter, Tah, Schulz; Gundogan, Kimmich, Kroos; Gnabry, Werner, Brandt
Ivan Bakhar is the major absentee for Belarus ahead of their latest qualifiers for Euro 2020. Otherwise, Mikhail Markhel has a full-strength squad to choose from and is unlikely to make any sweeping changes to the team he named last time out.
A change in system, however, is expected, with the Belarus head coach likely to prefer the 4-2-3-1 formation against Germany. In goal, there is no looking past Alyaksandr Hutar, with the veteran goalkeeper being the first-choice custodian for the visitors.
The back four from the last game is unlikely to be tinkered when Belarus pay Germany a visit, with Aleh Veratsila and Dzyanis Palyakow being the full-backs, while Nikita Naumov and captain Alyaksandr Martynovich will form the central defensive partnership.
Yevgeniy Yablosnkiy and Ivan Mayewski will combine in the midfield double pivot, with the former holding the fort in front of the defence. Mayewski, on the other hand, will be tasked with driving Belarus forward in transition, linking up with the forwards.
Bakhar’s injury means Stanislaw Drahun could move into the no. 10 role, with Ihar Stasevich being deployed on the left side of Belarus’s attack. On the opposite flank, Yury Kavalyow is likely to hold on to his place, with Dzyanis Laptsew being the central striker against Germany.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Hutar; Veratsila, Martynovich, Naumov, Palyakow; Mayewski, Yablonskiy; Kavalyow, Drahun, Stasevich; Laptsew
- Germany and Belarus have previously locked horns on two occasions. The hosts are yet to face defeat from The White Wings, drawing their first fixture 2-2 before beating them 2-0 last time out.
- Germany have only managed to win one of their last five games at home (D3 L1).
- But, Die Mannschaft are the form side going into this game, having won five of their last seven games (D1 L1). Belarus, on the other hand, have lost five of their last seven (W1 D1).
- Germany have kept four clean sheets in their last six matches, having only managed two shut-outs in their previous 16 games.
- In-form Bayern Munich superstar Serge Gnabry has scored ten goals in his 11 appearances for Germany so far.
Player to Watch
As things stand, two spots in Germany’s attack seem to be locked, with Serge Gnabry and Timo Werner being in irresistible form. In the event of a 4-2-3-1 being played, two other positions are up for grabs, but a 4-3-3 is also preferred, meaning Julian Brandt has it all to do to cement his place in Joachim Low’s side.
With Marco Reus struggling with an ankle injury, Brandt is likely to start both of Germany’s games during the final international break of 2019. The youngster should, therefore, have ample chances to impress Low and stake claim for becoming a regular and it will be interesting to see if he can do anything to usurp his Borussia Dortmund teammate.
Germany 3-0 Belarus
There has been very little troubling Germany in the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers, excluding their bouts with Netherlands. Yet to concede a goal to the rest of the teams in Group C, Die Mannschaft are starting to tighten things up at the back and are likely to be untroubled by the visiting minnows, Belarus.
With Netherlands and Northern Ireland going head-to-head on Saturday as well, this is Germany’s best chance to clinch a berth at the European Championships. The gulf of quality between the two sides should ensure a rather straightforward evening and The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-0 win for Joachim Low & co.